Thursday, May 14, 2009
I recently finished Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. Here's a synopsis of the book:
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code comes the explosive thriller that started it all. An ancient secret brotherhood. A devastating new weapon of destruction. An unthinkable target. When world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to his first assignment to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol -- seared into the chest of a murdered physicist -- he discovers evidence of the unimaginable: the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati...the most powerful underground organization ever to walk the earth. The Illuminati has now surfaced to carry out the final phase of its legendary vendetta against its most hated enemy -- the Catholic Church. Langdon's worst fears are confirmed on the eve of the Vatican's holy conclave, when a messenger of the Illuminati announces they have hidden an unstoppable time bomb at the very heart of Vatican City. With the countdown under way, Langdon jets to Rome to join forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and mysterious Italian scientist, to assist the Vatican in a desperate bid for survival. Embarking on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and the most secretive vault on earth, Langdon and Vetra follow a 400-year-old trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome toward the long-forgotten Illuminati lair...a clandestine location that contains the only hope for Vatican salvation. Critics have praised the exhilarating blend of relentless adventure, scholarly intrigue, and cutting wit found in Brown's remarkable thrillers featuring Robert Langdon. An explosive international suspense, Angels & Demons marks this hero's first adventure as it careens from enlightening epiphanies to dark truths as the battle between science and religion turns to war.
The main character in the book was the Langdon, the same main character in The DaVinci Code. However, unlike a series, you did not need to read the previously published book to understand it what was happening. Much like the previous book, he was used for his symbology skills to help solve the murders. Langdon works closely with Vittoria, the daughter of the murdered scientist, to find out where the bomb is and stop the murder of the priests. There is some clear romance between the two of them, but the book does not center around it in any way. Rather is builds up on the mystery and suspense touching on the romance only enough until the very end. A lot of side characters are introduced in this book including the Roman Guard, Hassasin, and the Camarlengo. However it is not hard to keep track of all the side characters in any way. They add depth to the book and make it more real.
I personally found the book very slow in the start. The author spent a lot of time building the suspense slowly and would section of parts in a certain characters perspective. There were sections for the Hassasin, Vittoria, and of course Langdon. He even had a section from a reports view, one or two of the Roman Guard, and the Camarlengo. While it was nice to have all these point of views, I sort of wished it went a little faster. However, it picks up pace rapidly towards the middle and end and I couldn't read fast enough to know what happens. So in many ways, the slow pace just made the ending even more wonderfully surprising. The end was quite a twist!
What I especially enjoyed about the book was the fact that all historical locations and pieces of art, as well as the Illuminati, were based on fact. There's even a note on it at the beginning of the book. That just made everything much more real while reading it.
All in all, despite the fact that it didn't quite captivate me in the beginning, it did win me over in the end. So ultimately I decided to give it 8 stars. My reasons for the 8 stars was the fact that it went a tad too slow in the beginning and I actually did want a bit more of the romance between the two. It's clear Langdon has feelings for Vittoria. But it's not really until the end that it becomes apparant that Vittoria has feelings for him in return. Then the romance went much too fast in my opinion at the very end. I do highly recomend the book though!